Health is the number one reason Canadians can't retire when planned

Sun Life Financial survey finds 45 per cent of Canadians have experienced a serious health event

TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - Choosing your retirement date may be harder than believed. A new study reveals that almost 70 per cent (69 per cent) of retired Canadians did not stop working on the date they planned. Among those Canadians who did not retire as planned, 41 per cent cited personal health as the primary reason for retiring earlier.

In fact, almost half of Canadians (45 per cent) have experienced a health event with nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of them impacted by a mental health issue, according to the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Health Index, conducted by Ipsos Reid.

"Our research shows that Canadians who are not financially prepared to retire typically say they will work longer to compensate, but unfortunately, they may not have that choice," says Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial Canada.

Though Canadians cite that deteriorating health is a top concern (66 per cent) as they age, only 22 per cent have saved money or otherwise planned for healthcare expenses in retirement. This is a source of anxiety for many. Highlights from the survey include:

  • 53 per cent worry about the cost of drugs and medical treatments in retirement;
  • 47 per cent worry about being in long-term care longer than they are financially prepared for; and
  • 45 per cent worry about outliving their retirement savings.

"The statistics show your retirement date may arrive sooner than you expected," notes Dougherty. "Simply working longer to make ends meet may not be possible after serious health events force many Canadians to leave the workforce, triggering a surprise retirement date."

Health isn't the only thing weighing on people's minds. The survey also finds that 76 per cent of Canadians are stressed out – citing money, money and money as the top three factors:

  • 41 per cent worry about personal or household finances;
  • 31 per cent worry about trying to maintain a budget; and
  • 30 per cent worry about unexpected expenses.

Of those Canadians who experienced a significant health event, just over four-in-10 have experienced financial hardship (26 per cent reported some hardship, 16 per cent reported significant hardship) and 25 per cent have reduced or depleted their savings as a result.

Professional financial advice makes a difference. Canadians who have an expert to help with their finances are more likely to finish their careers as planned (40 per cent versus 25 per cent who do not work with an expert). Sun Life Financial research shows 82 per cent of Canadians who work with an advisor are confident they will be able to take care of their medical expenses in retirement. Among those who don't work with an advisor, just 66 per cent said the same1.

"With more and more Canadians feeling stress related to household and personal finance," says Dougherty, "having a financial plan that takes health into consideration is more important than ever."

For more key findings and results on the 2014 Sun Life Canadian Health Index, visit www.sunlife.ca/CanadianHealthIndex. For more information on healthy living and financial planning, visit BrighterLife.ca.

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1 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index

About the Sun Life Canadian Health Index survey

The Sun Life Canadian Health Index measures the attitudes of Canadians towards healthy lifestyles and reports these in the form of an index.

The fifth annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index is based on the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between June 19 to July 2, 2014. A sample of 2,799 Canadians from 18 to 80 years of age from the Ipsos Canadian panel was interviewed online.

Ipsos employed weighting to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within + / - 2.1% at 95% Confidence Level had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About the Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index survey

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between November 12 and 20, 2013, on behalf of Sun Life Financial.

For this survey, Ipsos Reid conducted online interviews with a sample of 3,005 working Canadians from 30 to 65 years of age from Ipsos' online panel. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within + / - 2 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of June 30, 2014 the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $684 billion. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Carmela Antolino
Sun Life Financial
416-986-8179
Carmela.Antolino@sunlife.com

Jentzen Brown
Sun Life Financial
416-979-4076
Jentzen.Brown@sunlife.com  

SOURCE: Sun Life Financial Canada

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